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Old Town Hill Loop

Easy/Intermediate
 3.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A spectacular mix of tidal rivers, salt marsh, open fields, and woodlands.


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Map Key

2.2

Miles

3.6

KM

95%

Runnable

164' 50 m

High

4' 1 m

Low

226' 69 m

Up

231' 70 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

13%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Climb to the top of this 168-ft coastal hill and enjoy panoramic views of the Great Marsh and New Hampshire's Isle of Shoals.

Need to Know

Parking is free on the Newman road but there are only a handful of spaces available.

Runner Notes

If taking the trail back to front, there will be a high gradient leading to Old Town Hill.

Description

Beginning at the head of the Ridge Trail off Newman Road, you'll make your way up the well worn path which alternates between forest and gravel. There will be a gentle incline as you make your way up to the Watch Field as the forest makes way for meadow.

Marking the tallest point in the Ridge Trail, you'll arrive at Old Town Hill which is marked by being the sole tree amongst the meadow grass and surrounded by stones. Continuing on, you'll head back amongst the trees on a moderately steep decline that leads to another the open North Field but be mindful to take a 90 degree turn to the West as soon as you arrive at this point; you'll soon see a break in the hedgerows that initiates the beginning of the North Loop Trail.

As you progress through the forest, you'll arrive at a T junction, turn right on to the boardwalk trail. As you see the boardwalk, be cautious of the footing underneath as there is very little to stop you taking a tumble in to the marsh! The forest will soon make way to another former pasture and the Adams Pasture Trail.

As you exit the Adam's trail, you'll see a gravel road that takes you through the marsh and back on to Newman road. Dependent on the weather this section is either heavily waterlogged or muddy. Take a left as you meet Newman road again and it'll take you back to the trail parking.

Flora & Fauna

Mud snails, green crabs, and ribbed mussels live in the tidal creeks and provide food for wading birds, such as egrets and great blue herons. Ground-nesting birds and serve as hunting grounds for hawks and owls. Salt meadow grass, cordgrass, seaside goldenrod, and sea lavender thrive in the tidal salt marsh.

History & Background

Indigenous Peoples called this site "Quascacunquen," meaning waterfall, referring to the falls on the Parker River. In 1634, Newbury's first Meeting House was built on the Lower Green at the base of the 168-foot "Great Hill" and, shortly thereafter, a sentry box was erected on the crest of the hill. At one point, approximately 12,000 cattle and 3,000 sheep grazed the area, many on cleared parts of the Great Hill.

Colonists were clearing and planting at Old Town Hill by the late 1630s – only several years after the Puritans landed at Boston. But indigenous people had seasonal settlements in this area for many centuries before the colonists arrived; some researchers believe there is an indigenous burial ground on Old Town Hill, although its location is not known.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ronan Kelly

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#4621

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#59

in Massachusetts

#4,621

Overall
18 Views Last Month
96 Since Oct 23, 2020
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

The tree along the top of the Ridge Trail.
Oct 23, 2020 near Newbury…, MA
View of the North Loop Trail
Oct 23, 2020 near Newbury…, MA
The beginning of the Boardwalk Trail.
Oct 23, 2020 near Newbury…, MA

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